By Dr. Sheva Assar
Have you ever taken a second to think about how you feel about yourself? Are you comfortable and confident in who you are? Do you have an accurate understanding of both your areas of growth, as well as your many wonderful strengths? In my experience, I have found that most people tend to be incredibly hard on themselves and feel significant pressure to fulfill these unrealistic expectations that have been imposed by society, social media, self, and cultural/familial backgrounds.
I truly believe that the most important relationship is the one that we have with ourselves and the way that we think and feel about ourselves can impact so many areas of our lives.
I have identified six tips to improve your self confidence and help you in being more comfortable being YOU and loving yourself more!
Be curious about your thoughts. Have you ever paid attention to the voice in your head? How do you tend to speak about yourself? What is the language that you use? Do you tend to use rude/mean language towards yourself, maybe things like: “I’m not pretty,” or “No one will like me”? The way we speak to ourselves can have a significant impact on how we feel about ourselves and our belief in our abilities. So often, we tend to speak to ourselves significantly harsher than we would ever speak to a friend/loved one. Rather than accept your thoughts as facts, I encourage you to be curious about them- really try to understand what you are saying to yourself. In moments when you notice the self-critical thoughts come up, ask yourself- “What would I say to a friend in a similar situation?” The way that you would respond to a friend is likely more accurate to how you deserve to be treated! And remember, our thoughts are not facts, so if a thought isn’t supportive of you nor helping you, think about other thoughts that could be more helpful to you.
Ask for Support. Being a teenager can be challenging- you may think that everyone has it all figured out, but they often don’t. We figure things out as we go and one of the most important things to remember is that growing and learning is a process. You will look back within a year and realize how much you have gained in the last year and growth you have made! Also, sometimes one of the most powerful things to help us grow is our support system. Reach out to friends, loved ones, mentors, etc. if you need support, even if you are unsure how they will be able to help you. Taking active steps towards helping ourselves improve and grow can help our self-confidence because it is likely that you’ll realize that many people have been in your similar shoes and are aware of the specific tools that could be helpful to you!
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others. In the world of social media, it has been incredibly difficult not to compare ourselves with other people; however, it’s important to remember that people often selectively share their best moments on social media. Thus, whatever you’re seeing is likely not an accurate nor full representation of who they are, their strengths, struggles, or moments of difficulty. When we compare ourselves to other people, we are often comparing our struggles with what people are showing externally or on social media- this is an unfair and unhelpful comparison. Pro Tip: Consider limiting your social media in general and instead connect with supportive people in person, as well as activities that fuel positive emotions for you. This is likely to pay off in improving your self confidence and overall wellbeing!
Celebrate your accomplishments! So often we hyper-focus on what isn’t going well within our lives or things that we are lacking, rather than also celebrating our accomplishments. Take time each week to identify one thing- big or small- that is a win for you! Sometimes our own inherent strengths are the biggest wins! Some other examples, include: doing well on an exam, being there for a friend, engaging in a self-care activity- whatever it is, remember you deserve to be celebrated!
Dedicate time each day for you, without distractions. Take time each day to focus on your self-care-- these are activities that are emotionally and physically rejuvenating to you! Some examples can be: engaging in some type of movement, reading a book, being in nature, engaging in a breathing exercise, drawing/journaling, speaking up for yourself, etc. The way we take care and love ourselves on an emotional and physical level can support our overall mental health and self confidence. Make sure you schedule a self-care appointment with yourself each day and protect that time for you!
Remember, mistakes aren’t necessarily “bad.” Mistakes are often associated with a negative connotation or being “bad,” but if we’re trying new things and putting ourselves out there, we are bound to make mistakes in the process. I see mistakes as an opportunity to learn and gather information to better support us. Also, although so often we try to avoid mistakes, I find that one of the reasons is because people worry about their abilities to recover from the mistakes. In the process of learning and growing, as well as at times making mistakes, we often also learn our own inherent strengths and abilities to cope with scenarios that maybe we did not think we could in the past. Making mistakes can help with our problem solving skills, which can ultimately help our self-confidence.
Dr. Sheva Assar is a licensed clinical psychologist and relationship coach. She completed her graduate training at Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education & Psychology. She has worked in various mental health settings with individuals from diverse clinical and cultural backgrounds. Dr. Sheva has a particular passion for destigmatizing mental health and focusing on how to support individuals in experiencing holistic wellness. Dr. Sheva specializes in working with young women on improving their self-confidence and relationships. She provides educational and relationship tips on Instagram @drsheva. The tips provided here, as well as on other platforms, are solely for educational purposes and are not direct advice or treatment.